Sony just announced that The Amazing Spider-Man is meant to be the first of a trilogy. If so, there’s a lot of ground for the next two films to cover. The people at Sony likely have no problem with continuing their cash cow’s adventures after Amazing Spider-Man 3, but they’re still going to want the story to have a satisfying conclusion, so there are certain loose ends which should be tied up by then. This is in addition to all the other stuff that will happen in the films.
I’ll split this piece about what to expect in the sequels into two categories: The unanswered questions, which have to be resolved, and the stuff that the audience expects to see.
The major arc of the films is the mystery of Peter Parker’s parents, so that has to be resolved in the next two movies, especially if there’s an endgame in mind. Someone already made the joke that Sony’s trilogy announcement means that we’re not going to get an answer to this one in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 either. By keeping this arc going across several films, Webb and company are under some pressure to provide a satisfying conclusion. It will be disappointing if after three films, the answer is that they were good people, and that Norman Osborn was responsible for their deaths.
At the end of The Amazing Spider-Man, it was revealed that Curt Connors knows more about the mystery than he has let on. And someone capable of entering a prison cell without being noticed came to warn him about it. Rhys Ifans let it slip that the character is not Norman Osborn, so this guy’s identity is one more thing for the sequels to address. It might have been a bit anticlimactic to reveal that Connors knows what happened, as that makes it too easy for the writers to resolve the parents mystery by having Connors just reveal everything to Peter Parker.
The mysteries surrounding Norman Osborn seem to be setting up a big role for the character in the sequels. So far, he’s been established as a powerful dying man willing to do unethical things to ensure a reversal of fortunes. The audience is familiar with his identity as the Green Goblin, and I’d imagine that most expect that whatever Osborn takes to reverse his condition will result in him becoming the villain in a future sequel. But that isn’t necessarily a certainty.
Peter Parker’s arc in the film ended with his decision to ignore the promise he made to a dying Captain Stacy to stay away from Gwen. In the comics, Gwen Stacy is best known for her death, and Emma Stone is well aware of the character’s tragic end. There’s no guarantee that she’ll die in the films, but the audiences will expect that to happen, so that’s something for the writers to play with either way. If the first three films tell a complete story, we’ll know her fate by Amazing Spider-Man 3.
What Will Likely Happen
J Jonah Jameson is too good a character to stay out of the sequels, so he’ll probably show up at some point. The Daily Bugle’s already been mentioned in the first film, along with Peter Parker’s interest in photography. So it’s pretty likely that at some point in the next two films, Peter Parker will get a job at the Daily Bugle. But it’s not guaranteed. The writers could decide that there’s no room for that storyline, as seems to be the case with the first film.
Towards the end of Amazing Spider-Man, Uncle Ben’s killer was still on the loose, an unresolved thread for Peter Parker. It’s a major difference from any other take on Spider-Man’s origin. One of my biggest complaints with the film was that Uncle Ben’s death wasn’t that important to Peter’s story, but it’s possible that when he finally catches the killer in one of the sequels, he’ll take the lesson about power and responsibility to heart. That could come at a time when he’s thinking about quitting. If so, the way they handled Uncle Ben’s death in the first makes sense as there could be payoff at the end of the trilogy. Or the writers could just be ripping off all the Batman stories in which Joe Chill was never caught.
One of the biggest changes between Webb’s film and the Raimi trilogy was in the supporting cast. Mary Jane Watson, Spidey’s girl in the first trilogy, didn’t appear at all. She almost seems too famous to not appear in later films, although it’s possible that Webb & co. will decide that the character doesn’t quite fit their story for the trilogy. That would be disappointing if it means we don’t get the Gwen/ Peter/ MJ triangle.
Harry Osborn could tie into Norman Osborn’s story, so it makes sense to introduce him in the sequels. Though it is worth noting that the Norman Osborn of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was childless. If they want to bring Harry into this film series, one difficulty will be avoiding material we’ve already seen in the Raimi films. His arc in Spider-Man 2 was the perfect supervillain origin story, and it’s going to be difficult to avoid those same beats in a series that is making an effort to be different from what we’ve already seen.
With the mystery involving Norman Osborn, it seems pretty likely that Spider-Man will fight the Green Goblin in a sequel. In that case, we have a pretty good guess who the main villain of one of the next films is going to be. But it’s not a guarantee. They could always go in a different direction with the character, who was still pretty nasty out of costume in Amazing Spider-Man #37-38, the majority of JM Dematteis’s second arc of Spectacular Spider-Man, most of Warren Ellis’s Thunderbolts and for the entirety of Dark Avengers. One difficulty with making Osborn the Green Goblin would be giving him a different story than he had in the 2002 Spider-Man film.
There’s some speculation that the other man in the Lizard’s cell will be a major villain in the sequels. Likely suspects include Mysterio and the Chameleon, both of whom can gain entry into a prison cell. But he could just be some guy who works for Osborn. That would free up the next directors to use other villains in the sequels.
Avi Arad has said that they’re considering a separate Venom franchise. But it currently isn’t known how that would affect the Spider-Man films. I’ve speculated that Venom could easily be the villain of the next film, but writers given enough cash could figure out a way to introduce the character in his own movie. Considering how recent Spider-Man 3 was, Sony has incentives not to screw up Venom’s story. Because it could mean they would have to do that story three times in quick succession. Twice is bad enough.
There are plenty of other characters who could be introduced in the next two Spider-Man films, and many stories that can be adapted. But that would happen in addition to all the other stuff they have already seeded.